Kelly Clarkson was a cocktail waitress. Sean "P.Diddy" Combs fetched coffee. Bill Cosby once worked in a grocery store. Many celebrities had to do odd jobs and schmooze a lot of people before they hit the big time. It's that sort of pre-celebrity lifestyle that Miami Nights: Singles in the City, Ubisoft's interesting mash-up of The Sims and "American Idol," strives to simulate.
You wake up in a crummy apartment only to learn that you don't have any friends or a job. No big deal. Step outside and use the touch screen to talk to Jennifer. Once her friendship level is to your liking, get her phone number and head to the burger stand at the mall to earn some cash washing dishes. So begins an open-ended adventure where you'll visit different 3D generated hotspots around Miami, make friends, find work, and meet the movers and shakers that will get your entertainment career going.
Your character has needs, like we all do. It's good, then, that you can grab a meal from the fridge, use the toilet, and freshen up at the sink whenever you want. Fancy a swim in the pool? Feel free. While you go about your daily routine, you'll also want to build up your social graces by reading books, working out, and doing any of the other miscellaneous tasks the in-game people and objects let you do. Don't worry, the straightforward menus and friendly time limits make managing this stuff a breeze.
You may get tired of modeling hot tubs and scratching turntables day in and day out. Thankfully, every location has different objects to play with and different minigames to try. You can even pick fights with people. You'll also experience a unique overall story depending on which dream job you set out to obtain. Fun parties, wild rock concerts, and chance meetings with celebrities happen at regular intervals as your journey up the entertainment ladder progresses.
Occasionally, you'll awake from one of those wild nights to find a stranger snoozing in your bed. You can go out on dates, give gifts, and have sloppy make out sessions with anyone you meet during your daily wanderings, but the only times you'll ever actually take someone to bed with you is after a career building story event occurs. The implications are obvious, which means this isn't the sort of game you'll want to play if sleeping your way to the top is against your moral code. It's also not the sort of game you should play if you don't want to interact with 3D renditions of bare-chested studs and bikini babes.
Of course, if eye candy, implied promiscuity, and becoming a rock star do happen to be your cup of tea, you'll certainly find Miami Nights much more engaging than the typical social sim.
Jan 25, 2008